This book was first published a hundred years ago (1908) and I got it as a set English literature text book at grammar school in about 1964, so lots of people must have read it at about the same time. The author, who really wanted to publish poetry, left Wales in about 1890 to travel around the United States, doing so as a tramp and in doing so meeting many other tramps. He writes about them and their lifestyles, the jobs they undertake or avoid, their ways of begging instead of working and fascinating asides, such as the reasons for spending the winter in prison - how to get in and so forth. He made some eighteen crossings of the Atlantic, many of them looking after cattle in transit and he lost a leg in a train accident whilst trying to hitch a ride to the Klondyke gold strike. By 1907 he was living day to day in a doss house in South London. He'd spent all his money getting a few anthologies of his poems printed and, on spec, he sent one to George Bernard Shaw with a note inviting the famous writer to buy it for half a crown, or bin it and think no more of the matter. Shaw liked it, ordered more copies and persuaded Davies to write this book, to which Shaw contributed the preface. There are vignettes in this book for students of social history - Davies was in the wild west just after the railways were built, so he saw Texas in the raw; he also experienced the degradation of the British Poor Law system of dealing with those who had no means of support in the days before the welfare state was created. His real charm, however, is the beautiful character descriptions of the various eccentrics that populate his pages. I am really pleased to have become re-acquainted with this old school book. I just wish I could remember what else I had to read at school!